The Point (Banjul)

Gambia: Three Nigerians Charged With Economic Crime

Amos Uchechukwu Okpala, Ifeayni Nwachukwu Ifesibnachi and Irabor Blessing, all Nigerian nationals, were on 21 December 2012 remanded by the Kanifing Magistrates' Court presided over by Magistrate Jallow, after they were arraigned on a three-count charge of economic crime.

According to the particulars of offence on count one, the three accused persons some time in the year 2012, at Kanifing and diverse places in The Gambia, intentionally and recklessly used Africell SIM card numbers 7266843, 7265951, 2011729 and 7028849 respectively to create an illegal SIM box to terminate Africell international calls, which caused economic losses to both the company and the Gambia government.

Count two stated that the accused some time in the year 2012, at the same place were found in possession of Africell SIM card numbers 7266843, 7265951, 2011729 and 7028849 respectively to create international calls.

The charge sheet on count three further stated that the accused in the year 2012 at the same place were found in possession of Africell SIM card numbers 7266843, 7265951, 2011729 and 7028849 respectively, to create an illegal SIM box to terminate Africell international calls.

They all denied the charges.

Police prosecutor 2118 Gomez urged the court not to grant the accused persons bail.

He cited Section 62 (1) of the CPC, and told the court that the case should be transferred to the High Court because the Kanifing Magistrates' Court does not have jurisdiction to hear the case.

Defence counsel Uzuma argued that it was at the discretion of the court to grant the accused persons bail.

He said the accused did not jump bail when the case was being handled by the NIA, adding that since the accused did not jump bail then, they would not jump bail granted by the court.

Counsel added that the prosecution had completed their investigation, and there was no way the accused would interfere with their witnesses.

He further argued that the accused had sureties who could bail them.

He urged the court to use its discretion to grant bail.

However, Magistrate Jallow ruled in favour of the prosecution, and ordered that the accused be remanded at Mile 2 Prison. He further told the court that the case should be transferred to the high court in Banjul.

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